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Military




Palestine Military Guide


The Nakba1947
Terrorist Attacks1960s-1980s
The Intifada1987-1993
Al-Aqsa Intifada2000-2005
Op Summer Rains2006
Op Sea Breeze2007 +
Op Cast Lead 2008
Op Pillar of Defense2012
Op Protective Edge2014

Introduction

Maps

Links




Palestinian Authority

Political Groups

Political Leaders

Security Agencies


West Bank

Gaza


Urban Areas

Airport


Successful conflict resolution is possible only when the actor's fear of continued conflict exceeds their fear of a settlement. When parties have been convinced they need a way out of their stalemate, a formula for peace should appear relatively just and satisfactory to both parties, and should include important demands from both sides, since the parties will not give up claims without compensation. Theoretically, successful negotiations build trust and further momentum through agreement on less contentious issues. Building on this developing trust, the parties then gradually move to the more difficult issues that require serious concessions on both sides.

These traditional theories of negotiation fail to fully explain the decidedly non-traditional conflict in Palestine. Despite the appearance of a military stalemate, important constituencies on both sides reject the legitimacy of the other. Not all conflicts can be resolved through negotiation when peace involves costs and risks that neither side is willing to bear. For students of conflict management, guiding elements of negotiation theory are difficult to find here and, when apparent, always transitory.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem -- territories Israel captured in 1967 -- but have accepted the principle of limited land swaps. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas repeatedly said he will only go to talks if Israel either freezes settlement-building or recognizes the 1967 lines as a starting point for drawing the border of a Palestinian state.

On 19 July 2013 Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel agreed to meet and prepare for the resumption of talks. US Secretary of State John Kerry spent much of his first six months as secretary of state engaged in shuttle diplomacy, making six trips to the region in an effort to push Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas toward the resumption of talks. He stressed compromise in what was intended to be about nine months of intensive negotiations. The Palestinian resistance movement Hamas rejected the proposal made by Kerry for the resumption of talks between the two sides.

Ramadan, which is the holiest month on the Muslim calendar, fell between 9 July - 8 August 2013. Observance of the festival includes the commandment to fast from sunrise to sunset, Friday prayers and celebrations with one's extended family. In order to ease conditions for those Palestinian residents observing the month of Ramadan, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories [COGAT] and the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria implemented a series of measures and gestures, with the emphasis on alleviating the waiting time at crossings and facilitating access by the population to the holy sites.

The easing of restrictions during the festival enabled for the first time residents aged over 60 to enter Israel without a permit throughout the Ramadan period, and for women (of all ages) and men (over the age of 40) to enter without a permit on Fridays. Similarly, the entry of 20,000 worshipers was permitted during weekdays (men and women over the age of 35). In addition to these alleviations of restrictions, the hours during which crossings are open were extended, numerous permits were given for family visits in Israel and internal crossings were opened to facilitate the movement of thousands of vehicles. During the month of Ramadan, approximately one million Palestinians entered Israel.

About 2,500,000 Palestinians live under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, and another 1,600,000 blockaded in Gaza [Israel exercises "effective control" over Gaza and as such remains the "occupying power" under international law]. Arabs living as citizens inside Israel proper total around 1 million (out of Israel's population of 6 million). Over 3 million Palestinian refugees comprise the Palestinian diaspora, having left their homeland in 1948. Many of these are double refugees, having left Palestine in 1948 and again fleeing in 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank as a result of the war in June of that year. The largest Palestinian diaspora community, approximately 1.3 million, is in Jordan. Many of them still live in refugee camps that were established in 1949.

Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, committed unlawful killings in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip during 2011. Palestinian terrorist groups' killings remained a serious problem, particularly in the Gaza Strip, as did killings by Hamas-controlled security forces. Egregious human rights violations across the occupied territories include arbitrary arrest and associated torture and abuse, often with impunity and particularly against security or political prisoners. In addition to the lack of political freedom for residents of the Gaza Strip, human rights violations under Hamas reportedly included security forces killing, torturing, arbitrarily detaining, and harassing opponents.

Hamas and other Palestinian militant factions in the Gaza Strip also launched rockets and mortars against civilian targets in Israel, killing and injuring civilians. The Israeli government killed Palestinian civilians as well as militants, mostly in the Gaza Strip, but also in the West Bank. Israeli security forces killed 105 Palestinians in Gaza and 10 in the West Bank during the year 2011. According to statistics maintained by the Israeli government and by the United Nations Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), 27 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem died in clashes with Israeli security forces during the year 2009. According to Israeli government figures, Palestinian deaths resulting from Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009 totaled 1,166, including 295 noncombatant deaths. Human rights organizations estimated the number of dead at 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 1,000 civilians, and the wounded at more than 5,000.

The IDF restricted Palestinians’ movement within the occupied territories and for foreign travel, and, citing military necessity, it increased these restrictions at times. As of August 2011, the Israeli government maintained more than 519 obstacles to movement inside the West Bank.Barriers to movement included checkpoints, a separation barrier between the West Bank and Israel, internal road closures, and restrictions on the entry of persons and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip. Restrictions on movement affected virtually all aspects of life, including access to places of worship, employment, agricultural lands, schools, and hospitals.

No one would wish to live under such circumstances, and everyone would hope to see the conditions of the Palestinians improved. Despite the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) stance on a nonviolent path to statehood, a commitment to security cooperation with Israel and a public recognition of Israel's right to exist, the Israeli government continues to weaken its Palestinian counterpart by Jewish settlement expansion, eroding more and more land upon which an independent and contiguous Palestinian state might be established, and along with it the Palestinian public confidence in nonviolent struggle. During the 9-month peace talks under the auspices of America, the Israeli government promoted plans and tenders for at least 13, 851 housing units in West Bank and East Jerusalem, four times higher compared to the equivalent time of previous years, according to Israeli watchdog group Peace Now. Although an increasing number of Palestinians support two-state solution, 61 percent of them believe that it is no longer practical due to the settlement expansion.

The plight of the Palestinians has been the focus of international sympathy and concern for decades. In particular, many Muslims have long called the world's attention to the plight of the Palestinians. It is said that Israel's land-stealing policy is the source of Middle Eastern instability, and America is hated because American money and weapons are what enable Israel to steal Palestine from Palestinians. The obsession that many people in countries around the world seem to have with the Arab-Israeli conflict and with the plight of the Palestinians is frequently to the exclusion of all else.

At least part of the problem is that the Palestinians were on the losing side in World War II, and they have not reconcilded themselves to this fact. Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the most influential leader of Palestinian Arabs, lived in Germany during the Second World War. He met Hitler, Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders on various occasions and attempted to coordinate Nazi and Arab policies in the Middle East. By the summer of 1949, about 750,000 Palestinian Arabs were living in refugee camps in territories adjacent to Israel's borders. As many as 850,000 Jewish refugees from the Middle East came to Israel in the fragile first years of its existence. The state of Israel has accepted this exchange of populations, but the Arab states have not.

Other nations drove out thousands or millions of people, and there was afterwards no enduring refugee problem. Russia displaced Poles. Poland and Czechoslovakia displaced Germans. Turkey expelled a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchmen. Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese – and no one says a word about refugees.

After World War II, the Allies decided to move Poland's borders westwards, the Germans living in the areas east of the rivers Oder and Neisse were expelled from their ancestral homeland now being Polish territory. Though figures vary widely it is estimated that around 15 million Germans were forcibly transferred from eastern and central Europe, most of whom settled within the borders of today's Germany. By some estimates 15,000 Palestinians were killed in 1948 ( less than 1% of the Palestinian population). Of the 15,000,000 Germans who were displaced at the end of World War II, as many as 2,000,000 died along the way. The relative and absolute scale of Palestinian suffering compared to that of the Germans is slight, yet no one now speaks of restoring Germans to Polish lands.



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